The Truth about the Rich

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Studying economics, it’s clear that certain kinds of behavior will maximize your income and make your rich.

Watching politics, you wonder what the rich is doing, because they certainly aren’t doing those things.

Studying A Patriot’s History of the United States, I think I understand why. In this book, it details the issue of slavery, pointing out that everyone knew by the 1850’s that money was better spent building factories and hiring factory workers, which many Southerners did. But the wealthiest Southerners were persistent in owning large numbers of slaves and using them to extract every last dime they could, even if it meant abusing them.

The reasoning, it appears, had little to do with money. In other words, as long as slavery were making a little money, it would have continued as a practice. The Southerners who were hell-bent on continuing slavery even in the face of the new industrialized economy were so hell-bent because they had other reasons to support slavery. Indeed, as the Civil War drew closer, they became more and more hardened and racist and intolerant and began to treat slavery with the same sort of religious fervor you would find at a Bible Camp.

The truth about the rich is they don’t care about money anymore. I see in the news today that a certain Hollywood actor sold one of his businesses for a very large sum of money, and I am reminded that once you achieve a certain level of wealth, money really doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s a rare breed indeed who, having satisfied every economic need they could ever possibly have, devotes themselves to making unheard amounts of wealth. We know who these people are in our society, and we can name the top 5 or 10. But these people are truly exceptional.

Economics and its rules really don’t apply to the super-rich. The reason why is they are no longer selfish when it comes to money. Sure, they have their own projects, the charities or whatnot, but when it comes to money they genuinely don’t care anymore. Except for rare exceptions, I would trust the advice of the super-wealthy when it comes to money about as much as I trust the advice of the average homeless Joe.

Economics really applies to the upper middle class or the middle class, those who have enough to keep their family fed and sheltered, but not so much that they can stop thinking about money. These are the people who pay so much taxes it hurts, who count every dollar, who worry about whether the growth will be 5% or 6% (one means they have to work another 2 years, the other means they can retire right now.)

When it comes to economic policy, it is best to defer to these, the up-and-coming wealthy, and not the wealthy themselves.

My advice to the super-wealthy: Please don’t talk about money. It’s a very sensitive topic to the people who aren’t wealthy like you. We, who struggle day-to-day to try to keep afloat, who struggle just to try and find enough money to give something to our kids so they can get a head start in life, are very sensitive to even the tiniest changes in the economy or economic policies.

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